Interview with Judith in Umbria
Name: Judith in Umbria
Blog website: http://www.expatsinitaly.com/judith
Date of Interview: August 29, 2006
Area of Italy you live or will live in ?
Let us know a little about yourself?
Single, work rarely as designer and private chef. I write a column for Slow Travel on street fashion in Italy.
Why did you decide to move to Italy?
When I was a student I came for a month's self-guided study and felt immediately at home. It took 27 years to figure out how to make it home for real.
What type of process did you go through to be able to move here?
I have a hard-won visa for voluntary residence.
What problems did you run into during the initial process and how were you able to fix them ?
The staff were discouraging, uber-personal in public and it all seemed impossible, but here I am.
How long have you been here?
In November 2006, it will be 6 years
What type of adjustment problems have you had?
It was hard to accept differences that I thought made more sense the way I was used to doing things. I got over it.
What do you wish someone had told you before you made the leap ?
That one has to denounce oneself for contibuti and taxes. It was scary to have to pay 2 1/2 years worth of trash collection all at once.
What inside secret could you pass on to others looking to move over ?
Everything is different. Not better or worse, necessarily, just different. The differences reach into every single part of your life. I suspect one never really knows every single difference, and many times Italians are just letting you be different without comment. Some things that are considered absolute rules for our cultures, are overlooked or even disliked in the Italian culture. We can often feel hurt or even insulted for no reason at all. To me that means that we are probably offending Italians, too, until we get what their rules are.
Do you have any disappointments, things you thought would happen but haven't for whatever reasons ?
I thought I would spend more time at my pastimes and interests, but haven't really, mostly because there aren't closets to shove things into between times. I may need neater pastimes and hobbies.
What has changed about you since you have been here ?
I am much more casual. I think from a more worldly viewpoint-- although I thought I was fairly worldly before. I feel patriotic, in my way, to two countries now. I get teary over two anthems.
Do you think that you will stay forever?
I suspect that I may only leave if insensible to the world around me. I won't leave under my own steam, I know.
Can you think of any other questions that should be added to this questionnaire?
I think the degree of acculturation would be interesting to know about others.
Can you think of anything that you would like seen added to this site?
I would love a swap list, similar to those in other countries, although I don't know what I would offer. I am sure it would come to me.